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Home > Articles > High School Sports > Duncan Lambert continues his remarkable journey

Duncan Lambert continues his remarkable journey

Posted: January 7th, 2015 @ 3:21am


He was, undoubtedly, the best fake patient the School of Medicine at Queen’s has ever had.

Less than a year after a pretend exam revealed a real problem—and less than six months after open-heart surgery—Duncan Lambert scored 21 points Tuesday to lead the Regiopolis Notre Dame Panthers to a 61-40 high school senior basketball win over the Queen Elizabeth Raiders.

The odyssey began last April for Lambert, one of the city’s elite players, when he was approached to play the role of a patient in a mock exam being staged for senior medical students at Queen’s University. “I said yes just because I got 150 bucks to sit there and pretend I was injured.”

He rehearsed a series of symptoms that the students were supposed to diagnose as pulmonary hypertension. In conducting their examination, however, several of them concluded that, hey, this guy has a real issue with his heart, after they detected a murmur.

“The examiner in the room said, ‘Do you know you have one?’” Lambert recalled. “I said, ‘No, what is that?’

“He said it’s actually very common, and for most people it’s nothing. My grandmother has one, and it’s nothing to her, but you might as well go get it checked out.”

Duncan Lambert is back on the basketball court after a faux medical exam revealed a very real problem — phjoto
Duncan Lambert is back on the basketball court after a faux medical exam revealed a very real problem — phjoto
The subsequent appointment disclosed an atrial septal defect, a congenital flaw that allows blood to flow between the normally separated two upper chambers of the heart. “It was rather fortunate to find that out,” Lambert understated.

Surgery was performed at the end of July. “Obviously it’s a major operation,” Lambert said, “but the way the doctor explained it, they don’t actually cut through any muscle, which would take a longer recovery. It was more I wasn’t allowed to do anything with my arms for six weeks.

“After that, I just had to get back into it.”

Lambert got a clean bill of health and joined the volleyball team during the last week of September. After helping the Panthers capture the Ontario championship, he joined the basketball team.

Panthers coach Ed Kenney and volleyball coach Mark McKenna were in touch with Lambert and his parents in August. “Everything was very positive,” Kenney recalled. “He was so positive, I was having a hard time believing him.

“It’s remarkable.”

Lambert says his fitness level is good. “It might have dropped a little over Christmas break,” he confessed, “but it’s good to get back into it.”

Lambert’s ability is not to be denied: his game-best 21-point performance Tuesday came in no more than 12 minutes of playing time, and included two three-point baskets and 7-for-7 shooting from the foul line. His biggest contribution to a young team, however, may be the example he sets.

“We’re exceptionally young,” Kenney said. “We have nine boys who are in Grade 10 or 11. The fortunate thing about it is they’re really eager (and) we’ve got Duncan, who’s a very good player, and sets a high bar. Duncan and Enzo Romeo and Luke Webb, the few kids who were here last year, have found a way to keep the standard for effort high, and keep (the younger players) accountable.”

Lambert, in his fifth year at Regi, has designs on pursuing the game at university, perhaps at either McMaster or Bishop’s. He says working with the younger players is something he enjoys.

“It’s fun,” he said. “We’re pretty young but all of them have played a lot of basketball before, all of them have played a fast, hard-running, tough style that we want to play.

“They’re all eager to get out and play and keen to have success.”

That’s something that endears the group to Kenney.

“The first two weeks, where we were figuring out the level of commitment that we wanted to give, and the level of effort that we wanted to give, we set a nice standard,” he said. “They’re a pleasure to coach. The kids work really hard.”

The Panthers substituted freely almost from the start of the game, and got points from eight different players.

“They’re sitting here, and they really want to get out there," Kenney said. "What we’ve emphasized is if people work really hard then they’ll come off and people will go on but they’ll get rewarded. You get that free flow of kids, selling out and sitting down for a minute and then they go right back out.

“Today’s game was an athletic contest. The kids from QE ran up and down the floor with us and that’s the way we like to play. We’ll take our young guys and focus on our athleticism and we’ll try to grind out the details later in the season.”

Regi jumped to a 10-3 lead in the first three minutes of the game and the Panthers led 14-7 at quarter time. They scored 25 points in the second quarter and coasted from there.

All of Lambert’s points came in the first half, 15 of them in the second period. Eli Deluzio finished the game with 10 points for Regi. QE got 13 points off the bench from John MacDonald, while Tyler Bark scored 11, including three three-point baskets in the second half.

The win was Regi’s fourth without defeat this season, while QE fell to 0-5.

In other games Tuesday as the Kingston Area Secondary Schools Athletic Association began the 2015 half of its schedule, the Frontenac Falcons kept pace with Regi at 4-0 win a 73-36 home-court win over the Loyalist Lancers, and the Kingston Blues snapped a two-game losing streak with a 59-37 win over the Black Knights at La Salle.

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